Books at MIFF 2016 – fostering the slow growth of adaptations

From straight reversioning to simultaneous development, Australian cinema is slowly embracing adaptation.

By Mark Poole

Books at MIFF 2016 - fostering the slow growth of adaptations

Image: the MTC stage adaptation of Jasper Jones. 

For those with long memories, Books at MIFF was ten years old this year. Part of the Melbourne International Film Festival and held in conjunction with industry event 37 South, the initiative bringing together publishers and producers with the aim of facilitating adaptations to the big and small screens.

As MIFF Chair Claire Dobbin said in introducing the one-day event, around 50% of producers’ slates are taken up with adaptation projects, an increase from previous decades when there was a focus on original work rather than adaptations. And since Books at MIFF was created to redress that imbalance and promote adaptations to follow the US model where far more films result from adaptations than original ideas, this event has certainly contributed to that increase.

As in previous years the Books at MIFF event commenced with a case study presented by a panel of industry experts, expertly steered by MC Sandy George. This year’s panel featured Debbie Lee, director of scripted development at Matchbox Pictures, producer David Jowsey whose impressive body of credits include Ivan Sen’s current film Goldstone as well as the director’s previous feature Mystery Road and the forthcoming film Jasper Jones, plus three representatives from the publishing field in Sophy Williams from Black Inc Books, Fran Berry from Hardie Grant Books and Benython Oldfield from Zeitgeist Media.

The focus of the discussion was how adaptation has put diversity on our screens by offering us a rich source of diverse stories, and so the first such story to be discussed was the Matchbox television series Barracuda. Debbie Lee told the audience of producers and publishers how Matchbox producer Tony Ayres had previously established a fantastic working relationship with author Christos Tsolkias on the iconic and highly successful 8-part series The Slap. Barracuda, screening on ABC, is a four-parter shown twice a week on ABC1, and all episodes were also made available on iView. Lee said that early considerations about how to adapt the book centred around whether it should be four by one hours or two by two, and how it should be approached stylistically. One factor in the show’s success is that all four episodes were directed by the highly experienced Robert Connolly, who is also expert at adaptation, which has been a central focus of his feature film work (think The Boys, Three Dollars, Romulus My Father, and Balibo). Interestingly for a panel discussion on adaptation, Barracuda’s two screenwriters Blake Ayshford and Belinda Chayko didn’t actually get a mention, so when the AWGIE nominations were announced a few days after this panel session, it was great to see the two Barracuda writers honoured on the list.

The panel also explored the development of another Matchbox production, that of forthcoming feature Ali’s Wedding. Fran Berry explained that this project came into being through a conversation between Berry and Tony Ayres at a Books at MIFF session six years ago. Tony mentioned to Fran the stories he had heard from Osamah Sami, a young actor he’d directed in a film called Saved for SBS in 2009. Tony felt there was a film project in the stories Osamah had told, about growing up in Iran where Sami was born. Apparently Sami went on to write the screenplay for the film and the book version more or less simultaneously. (IMDB cites this film as being ‘based in part on the book’, and the screenplay for the film, co-written by Sami and veteran Andrew Knight is nominated in the AWGIE original feature film category, so it seems that this is one project that defies easy categorisation as an adaptation.) The book version is titled Good Muslim Boy, and Osamah also stars in the film version, playing the lead role as Ali. Fran Berry described the story as being about an Iranian boy who moves to Melbourne with his family and attempts to bridge two cultures by going through with a marriage arranged by his parents while being secretly in love with another woman.

Debbie Lee also talked about a third Matchbox production, that of The Family Law, which is written by Benjamin Law and tells the story of growing up Asian in Queensland in a dysfunctional household. Law’s book was published in 2010, selling well in part through the author’s extensive social media networks. Ben is represented by Benython Oldfield, another member of the panel, who persuaded Matchbox in acquiring the rights to hire the author as the head writer of the television show, since it couldn’t be realised without Law’s distinctive voice.

When asked about the dollar numbers of these projects Sophy Williams was guarded, suggesting that people get depressed when numbers are discussed, since in a small territory like Australia, the numbers are always going to be small. However if a book is adapted for the screen the numbers of books sold gets a solid boost.

The publishers on the panel pointed out that in Australia a successful book is likely to sell only around 4000 to 5000 copies, and if you manage to sell 20,000 that is a great success. But Ben Law has forged a new career in screenwriting due to the adaptation of his book into television, which is a great thing for his career, maintained Oldfield.

Bonython explained that his starting point is a book that has sold at least 10,000 copies, or has won a prize, as something that can be taken to producers. Oldfield was adamant that authors need to be paid for their work and so producers should be paying up front for options, despite the length of time it takes for production funds to come through. He talked about keeping pressure on producers to follow through and not just sit on the project, and he may agree to a peppercorn advance if that means that the producer must pay a premium in six months’ time when the project looks like eventuating. Oldfield also sets milestones for the producer to hit, such as a timeframe for the completion of drafts, which must be met in order for an option to be renewed. Sophy agreed that stepped options can be extremely useful.

Producer David Jowsey talked about the adaptation of Craig Silvey’s book Jasper Jones into a feature film, which has recently been completed and will be released next year. The screenplay was written by Silvey and Shaun Grant, and it too has been nominated for an AWGIE this year. Over 200,000 copies of the book have sold which provides a great base to build an audience, Bonython chipped in. The film is directed by Rachel Perkins who did a terrific job, Jowsey told the audience, and they are very happy with the end result. Author Craig Silvey was a presence on the set during the filming, and that experience has convinced Jowsey of the benefits, since the author can provide a lot of backstory to help the director wrestle with a problem.

‘It was always going to be a long and arduous journey and it took many years,’ said Jowsey.

The panel agreed with MC Sandy George that publishing is more open to diversity than the screen sector, as they aren’t as scared of it. ‘Perhaps diversity is less confronting on the page than on the screen,’ Fran Berry mused. However Debbie Lee reminded us that the sector has been really successful bringing indigenous stories to the screen, over a considerable time period with programs such as Shifting Sands, partnerships with government agencies and ABC and SBS, which created and environment where indigenous people were skilled up. ‘That has been hugely successful and I think everyone would recognise that.’

‘I really like the fact that we have series like Transparent and Cleverman where people who are diverse can screw up and be human,’ Sophy said. ‘Even a show about a gay Asian male can be transcended by witty dialogue, and it helps to create a sense of connection and breaking down barriers.’ She added that Benjamin Law’s stories are about humour and family, and they are universal themes that even straight white guys can connect with.

How The Dressmaker was adapted into a film

Books at MIFF: how The Dressmaker was adapted into a film starring Kate Winslet

The film of Rosalie Ham’s 2000 novel The Dressmaker will gain greater recognition for the author. EPA/TAL COHEN

The Books at MIFF event – held yesterday in Melbourne – saw producers mingle with publishers in the never-ending search for the next book-to-screen adaptation. Although Hollywood is based on adaptation, the Australian film industry has always relied much more on original screenplays, and that is something that Books at MIFF – now in its ninth year – aims to redress.

The Dressmaker, to be shown for the first time at Toronto International Film Festival in September, could well be Australia’s next highly successful adaptation. Starring Kate Winslet, Judy Davis and Liam Hemsworth, the film was adapted from book to the screen by Jocelyn Moorhouse and PJ Hogan.

The Dressmaker (2015) trailer – Jocelyn Moorhouse.

For those who don’t yet know, The Dressmaker (2000) is a Gothic novel, written by the Australian author Rosalie Ham.

It tells the story of Myrtle “Tilly” Dunnage, who returns to her childhood town of Dungatar to take care of her ailing mother Molly. While people in the town are blown away by Tilly’s dressmaking skills, learned in Paris, she plots and exacts revenge on those who have wronged her in the past.

So what did we learn about the book’s journey to screen adaptation at yesterday’s event?

The Books at MIFF panel featured the book’s author, Ham, alongside screen producer Sue Maslin, the film’s director Jocelyn Moorhouse and the book’s publisher Michael Duffy.

The Books at Miff panellists (L-R): MC Sandy George; panellists Rosalie Ham, Sue Maslin, Jocelyn Moorhouse and Michael Duffy. Photograph courtesy of the author

Ham – who studied Creative Writing and Editing at Melbourne’s RMIT – told us her lecturers advised students to write a marketable idea, and that she soon realised The Dressmaker wasn’t what they had in mind. It didn’t have a typical story arc, and it lacked the sort of happy ending publishers usually go for.

Undeterred, Ham decided to write it anyway, to get all those things “that got up my nose” out of her system, and then she could start her second novel, the one that would hopefully be marketable.

But the book was picked up by Australian publishers Duffy and Snellgrove. It “erupted from the pile”, according to Michael Duffy, who was also on yesterday’s panel:

We began our publishing business intending to do lots of fiction, but ended up publishing almost none […] It seemed that most of the manuscripts we received were written by bored public servants about their fairly uninteresting lives.

Duffy and Snellgrove published the book without making any stab at sales projections, but it sold steadily thanks to word of mouth and positive reviews. Anyone who has read it seems to love it, including film producer Sue Maslin.

Maslin was returning from a shoot in the Pilbara region (Western Australia), for the feature film Japanese Story (2003), when she saw The Dressmaker in a bookshop and was drawn to the author’s name. Wasn’t that the Rosalie Ham she went to school with, who had grown up in rural Jerilderie with Maslin? It was, and as soon as she read the novel she was hooked:

I just fell in love with it immediately. It captures brilliantly what it’s like to grow up in a small community, and what happens if an outsider comes to town.

Maslin got in touch with Ham, only to find out that the film rights had already gone. Ham explained:

I had ten offers on the table within weeks of the book coming out. I selected a producer who seemed passionate about the book and determined to make it happen.

But it was the producer’s first project, and over time Ham began doubting it would be realised in the way she had envisaged, if at all.

In the meantime, Maslin and Ham played golf. Maslin said:

We wanted to resume our childhood friendship and golf seemed an excellent way to do it, even though we both play terrible golf. We never discussed the book. Once a year I asked politely how it was going, and that was it.

Ham used the hours spent wielding golf clubs to find out more about the film industry, and eventually, when the option to the film rights expired, she turned to Maslin, who jumped at the chance.

Maslin approached US-based Australian director and writer Jocelyn Moorhouse, who had directed Proof (1991) – another drama with an ironic tinge. But Moorhouse wasn’t interested:

I didn’t even read it, as I was having a major personal drama at the time. My son had just been diagnosed with autism, and I wanted to focus on that.

So Maslin was patient. A year later she called Moorhouse and suggested a meeting as she was travelling to Los Angeles. Moorhouse said:

I’d read the back cover and it was interesting, but I didn’t want to read the whole book in case I really wanted to do it, and I couldn’t. I told Sue she seemed a great producer but I couldn’t do it, and she said just read the book, and so I did and I was hooked.

By then Moorhouse’s son was in a much better place than he had been previously, and reading the book made Moorhouse feel homesick for Australia. So she agreed to do it:

As soon as I met Tilly [the protagonist] in the book I fell in love with her, because she’s a femme fatale. And then I read about the cross-dressing policeman …

She didn’t know how she could adapt a novel with so many characters into a feature film. But she did know that, if she could manage it, the screenplay would have the power to attract actors of the calibre of Kate Winslet and Judy Davis – they would be attracted by the complex roles.

Maslin tracked down Winslet’s London agent and pitched the book to him. Winslet considered the role, and since Moorhouse and Maslin were sure she was their perfect lead, they waited for her decision, which was an eventual yes.

The film was financed with Winslet on board, but as they prepared for the shoot Winslet told them she was pregnant. That delayed the film for a year, which meant re-financing the project.

Ham jokingly told the audience that, since she had done a year on screenwriting at RMIT, she felt qualified to have a shot at adapting the book herself – but as soon as she realised she would have to cut out many of her beloved characters, she realised she couldn’t:

A lot of the film’s dialogue is from the book, but we had to make the story more of a three-act structure and focus on Tilly and her mother as the throughline.

For publisher Michael Duffy, the film will provide new readers for the book, especially overseas where it will now be published in more than 16 territories.

Has it been lucrative for the author, MC Sandy George wanted to know?

I get A$2 per book sale and that ticks over nicely and pays my credit card bill. But when I got the big cheque from Sue, that paid off my mortgage.

Books at MIFF is part of the Melbourne International Film Festival, which runs until August 16. Details here.

https://theconversation.com/books-at-miff-how-the-dressmaker-was-adapted-into-a-film-starring-kate-winslet-45376

BEAU WILLIMON, SHOWRUNNER, HOUSE OF CARDS

For me, the final session at Screen Forever, the 2013 SPA Conference, was the best. It was inspirational as well as fascinating.

Beau Willimon, showrunner for the Netflix series House of Cards, spoke to The Age’s television writer Debi Enker about the creation of the show. Debi began the session by explaining that the new series was the first to be commissioned by the online delivery organisation, heralding a new chapter for the television industry. When it was released, all episodes were released simultaneously, allowing audiences to view them one by one or binge the entire season if they chose. And many did.

Beau began by posing five thoughts, saying that he said he hoped the audience would disagree with them all.

One. I don’t think there is any distinction any more between film and television.

Two. Viewers have absolutely no interest in brand.

Three. Data is not a predictor. Data can only shed light on what has been, not what will work in the future.

Four. The entertainment business rewards risk-takers. Suffocate creativity and you suffocate your product.

Fifth. As cinema was the definitive art form of the 20th century, the definitive art form of the 21st century will be video games. Video games are where the future is.

Debi – You’ve described your arrangement with Netflix as a group of people with no experience in television.

Beau – None of us knew what the fuck we were doing. Neither David Fincher nor I had worked in television before. We didn’t think of it as making a TV show at all. For me, it was more of a novel. We didn’t have a single development executive. Not one. Netflix said to us ‘we will get the story you want to tell out to the world.’

Debi – How did you get to Netflix?

Beau – David Fincher approached me to write it for the production company MRC (Media Rights Capital). I don’t know what MRC’s deal was with the BBC, who did the original series written by Andrew Davies.

“We sat down with the usual suspects,” said Beau. “On a Sunday all three of those networks came to us. We said thanks for coming, we don’t want to do a pilot, we want to be commissioned for a whole series. I’d put a year of my life into that script.”

“The very next day we sat down with Netflix. I wasn’t sure what they wanted. We said the same thing, we wanted a season up front. They said ‘we’re in the content business and we would need two seasons.’ We said ‘okay, we’ll get back to you.’”

“So with Netflix, we had creative freedom and two seasons guaranteed. That blew the competition out of the water.”

“When you haven’t been shaped by the status quo, you are kind of figuring it out as you go. When I’m doing something, I want to have no idea what to do, how I’m going to tell the story. As my dad told me: ‘a job you know how to do isn’t worth doing.’”

Debi – Knowing you had two seasons up front, what sort of freedoms did it give you?

Beau – Knowing we had 26 hours, I knew I didn’t have to fight for survival the way a lot of shows do, creating cliff-hangers to entice audiences to come back next week. At the end of Season One there was not a question about whether there would be a Season Two. So that doubles the real estate canvas you can paint on.

Debi – At what point did Kevin Spacey come on board?

Beau – Kevin came on board after I’d done several drafts of episode one. When David and I spoke to the networks we only had the script of one episode. I had ideas about the progression of the series, and I gave them some ideas on where we might end up. They wanted to have some notion of where the first season might take us.

I worked on the first episode for almost a year, going through several drafts. David started having conversations with Kevin, who he knew well as they’d worked together on Se7en. He also knows Robin Wright from way back when. David and I both felt that if we didn’t get those two stars, if they said no we just wouldn’t do it. Without them you were just limping in. So we put the script in their hands, and thank god they said yes.

Debi – Did they have any input into the writing?

Beaut – Absolutely, and they still do. That the difference between television and film, you have a constant and evolving dialogue.

As the showrunner, I’m on the set from the first rehearsals to the final shot. We have 140 shooting days a year. Kevin and Robin are both incredibly incisive when it comes to script, and willing to push themselves. I talk to them about throwing out a story and introducing new ones. We will also change things at the last moment on set, if we feel something can be improved. I’ll watch a few takes and say what if we do this? Right until we do the last setup of a scene.

I saw that Pierre Rousseau had an amazing interaction with Kevin Spacey on the set, so I built up his role and changed a lot of scripts to accommodate that. I had a staff of writers to help me.

I don’t mind changing things at the last minute. I don’t agree with this idea that the script is a Rosetta stone and completely unmalleable, because with that approach you are completely shutting out the input of the director and the actors. I’m meticulous, going through 6 drafts of every script. But refusing to allow any changes means you are saying you’ve achieved perfection. I think a script is a blueprint for behaviour. People don’t watch something because of the script. I think that a great story should function on mute. You should understand everything that is going on with the sound down. The script is the strategy for achieving this great behaviour. You have to have a great script as a jumping off point. You are all simply there to try and capture magic.

Debi commented on the opening of the show, where Francis Underwood does something rather brutal while dressed in a tuxedo.

Beau – That’s one way to start a show! It’s based on the English show written by Andrew Davies. Right up front, David Fincher said he had no interest in doing an adaptation of the British show. A lot has changed in 20 years in both television and in politics, and we wanted to have our own tone, our own stories and our characters.

Originally, I started the show with Kevin going through a New Year’s Eve party, and it felt a little tepid. I wanted it to not feel like an introduction, but more like a punch in the face.

I wanted it to be a movie star entrance. Underwood was in a party so he’s in a tux. That’s good. And you can have the double doors open and Kevin comes out and that’s good, that’s a movie star entrance. So why does he come out, I thought? Maybe it’s a car accident. OK but maybe it’s a dog. Why don’t I have him kneel down and put this dog out of his misery. He speaks to camera and he kills another life-form and it’s his world view of being able to be ruthless.

Beau explained to the audience how in television, as in film, you can kill as many humans as you want, but if you kill a dog, the audience goes insane. “We discussed it and we weren’t cavalier. Anyone who was repulsed by this, they probably weren’t made for this show,” they decided. “We felt like it was a sort of litmus test for who was going to connect with it. If we had been in a network, we would have been told by someone that we couldn’t do it. It wouldn’t even have been a conversation. A focus group would have told you, you just can’t do it.”

It was a great beginning because then you see Underwood wash his hands and go into the party.

Debi – You’ve described him as some kind of optimist. He’s driven by ambition.

Beau – In terms of Francis being an optimistic, I firmly believe that. I am seeing it from his point of view. I don’t have an agenda. In his view, ideology is a form of cowardice. Your moral code proscribes your behaviour and leaves you no choice.

“If people say I’m not going to bend on my moral code, it’s a form of paralysis. A great example of that is the recent shutdown in the US. What was the result? People suffered and died. That definitely happened. That was the result of people who refused to bend from their morality.”

“Do the ends justify the means? Francis would say absolutely. The truth is, all heads of states, all Presidents are murderers. We entrust our leaders to kill on our behalf. They decide where the troops go. If we elect a leader who doesn’t, they’re incompetent. That’s not a pretty thought, but it’s a reality.”

“In America we want our leaders to be effective, but also to be saints. They can’t be both. And that’s why we are always disappointed with them.”

Beau added that Abraham Lincoln was a moral president but he did things that were illegal, that were unconstitutional, because he had to. “We forgive him as we understand that he did what he had to do.”

Producer/writer Susan Bower asked about the production schedule for House of Cards.

Beau – “We shoot 6 pages a day, shooting two episodes at a time. We complete one episode in 10 days and shoot for 20, so a director can spend 20 days working with us, which allows a director to settle in with the cast.”

Beau mentioned that Steven Soderburgh, who famously announced his imminent retirement recently, is doing a show called The Nick about a hospital in New York at the turn of the century. Soderburgh is apparently shooting all ten episodes simultaneously, and he is directing and also director of photography, hand holding the entire thing.

“We have very strict rules for our DP. It comes from Fincher’s ideas on filmmaking. No pans, no steadicam, no long lenses. You’ll never see bright red in our show, because vibrant colour is comedy and black and white is drama. In case you didn’t know.”

A discussion ensured about whether this was true, and Pedro Almodovar’s vibrant colour palette was mentioned, even in his dramas. But for Willimon the director’s work is best as comedy.

Q – how does the writer and director work together?

Beau – It’s very much a collaboration between a lot of people.

Beau talked about working with David Fincher. He was warned initially that he would have more interaction with Fincher than he could possibly want.

“We share a lot of similar approaches,” Beau said. “He has this vast mind. He is a savant. He went to the RED factory and showed them how to build a RED camera. He is one of the great minds on editing. If you see him with a DP, he will tell them where all the lights should go, and names each one.”

“He does a lot of takes but I think that’s a strategy to get actors not to act.”

I’ve never gotten better notes on a script. He’s a great guy, deeply collaborative. Even now when he’s shooting Gone Girl (2014) he’s looking at every edit of House of Cards.”

Note – a quote on directing from David Fincher on IMDB: “People will say, ‘There are a million ways to shoot a scene’, but I don’t think so. I think there’re two, maybe. And the other one is wrong.”

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0000399/bio?ref_=nm_dyk_qt_sm#quotes

When asked what constitutes great notes, Beau retorted that the questioner was looking for a schema or a formula, and they can’t get that. “You need a brilliant person to give great notes,” he said. “I don’t say that to be an arsehole, I think it’s true. We want the best outcome possible. David wants to achieve clarity of story, sophistication in terms of character development and originality.”

“Fincher has years of experience and a sense of honesty that few people have. It’s very hard to find people who give great notes. A lot of times people who are giving notes are doing so to justify their own paycheck.”

“Sometimes the best thing a producer can do is to get out of the way. Sometimes a great producer knows when to get in the way, when someone’s ego is getting in the way, or it’s just the fact that you can’t bat a thousand all the time. Producers like Scott Rubin know about story.”

Willimon said that sometimes David Fincher will highlight a couple of lines and say ‘better.’ “But I know what he means. Other people might give that note and I would have no idea what they mean.”

Beau said that they stole the piece to camera style outright from the BBC version. “It’s sort of like Richard the Third, the Shakespeare play. Kevin Spacey calls him ‘Dick the Shit.’ Because he lets you in on it, it builds conspiracy from the audience.”

Willimon suggested that the 13 by one hour format of the show is driven by the need for international sales. It has to be in one hour chunks. However he feels that this comes from a bygone era, and he’d love to have episodes of different lengths, or dispense with episodes altogether and have one continuous 12 hour stream. “I’m serious,” he added.

Like being the President, there’s no way of preparing for the job of showrunner, said Willimon. “You have to wear a ton of hats. Collaborate with a lot of people. Editing it. Thinking of the design of sets. It’s what a film director would do times 7.” He said he worked 100 hour weeks for nine months of the year. “It’s a form of insanity, like making 7 feature films in one year. You get to make a feature film every 20 days. Plus, I get to work with the best people in the business.” However he said that he has never been able to grow a beard, so he’s hoping that as he goes grey he’ll eventually look older than 15 years.

Finally, Willimon told the audience that the only award he’s ever won was the AACTA Award in 2011 for Ides of March. He showed us a photo of it sitting on a table in a diner in LA after the ceremony. “I turned up to this full-on event with Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe. So thank you Australia.”

Mark Poole

 

 

MIFF is here!

MIFF began, somewhat shakily, with an awful Almodovar film I’m So Excited!. I’m a big fan of Almodovar’s films but this is one that someone should have suggested he leave alone, I believe.

Anyway, this weekend saw the seventh 37 Degrees South (latitude of Melbourne, not to be too parochial) Market. Quite a few local and interstate producers, sales agents and distributors milled around, and some of the talk sessions were interesting.

It was also the seventh Books at MIFF, where book publishers attempt to sell the film or TV rights of their favourite projects to producers. I don’t know of any that have been picked up at the event. However, a few years ago Warp Films did purchase the screenplay Snowtown, based on a non fiction book that had been cannily optioned by writer Shaun Grant. So there is hope!

Writing for reality TV and documentary

US-based Australian producer, Brian Armstrong (Red Rock Films) talks the modern art of not writing documentaries for the American networks.

Armstrong mainly talked about how to write narration and structure documentaries for today’s television world, and to provide the latest trends from an American perspective. He was also shamelessly promoting his recent book, The Exotic Booze Club, which mainly follows his exploits in making docs for Nat Geo around the world.

So why the not in the secret art of not writing?

Because, according to Brian, if you do it right the pictures will say it all. It’s not a new philosophy, but it’s even more relevant in programs with a ‘reality’ feel. You get information in these programs, but you shouldn’t notice that you’re getting it.

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The Business of Development

Published in Screen Hub 5 July 2013.

This week the Australian Writers’ Guild hosted a lively session on script development, with speakers from both Screen Australia and Film Victoria.

It was a timely opportunity to hear from three people central to development decisions, namely Jenni Tosi, CEO of Film Victoria, Veronica Gleeson, Senior Development Executive of Feature and Professional Development at Screen Australia, and the new person on the block, Jo Dillon who has just taken up her post as Development Executive at Screen Australia, based in Melbourne.

The session was pointed at times, if not outright heated, and each participant spoke from the heart about what moved them in a screenplay, which was fascinating to hear. However it also reflected the development limbo we’re in at present.

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